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What Are the Benefits of Selenium for Acne?

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg

People looking for a natural option may want to consider taking selenium for acne, as the mineral has several properties which make it useful for treating the condition. It is an antioxidant, and also boosts the antioxidant properties of vitamin E, which can neutralize free radicals that damage the skin. There is evidence that it supports healthy immune function, which can help fight the bacteria in acne. Selenium can help reduce inflammation, which can in turn improve the appearance of the red, irritated tissue around pimples. It can also improve the elasticity of the skin, minimizing damage and scarring.

One of the main benefits of taking selenium for acne is its action as an antioxidant. This means that it works to stop the effects of free radicals, particles that damage the skin, worsening its appearance and allowing acne to develop. Not only can it help reduce the damage from current acne breakouts, but it can also help lower the chances of future breakouts as well. Selenium also helps to make vitamin E, another antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, work more efficiently, so it is often useful to take supplements containing both nutrients.

A boy with acne.
A boy with acne.

Taking selenium for acne can also boost the immune system, which can help sufferers in two ways. First, it can help prevent acne since a stronger immune system is more likely to fight off the bacteria that cause acne. Also, when breakouts do occur, they may be less severe and clear up more quickly if a person's immunities are up.

Another of the reasons that taking selenium for acne is so beneficial is its anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that taking the mineral can decrease tissue irritation and inflammation. Since the tissue in and around a pimple is often swollen, red, and inflamed, taking selenium may help improve its appearance and make pimples less noticeable.

Acne can leave behind scars and marks.
Acne can leave behind scars and marks.

Selenium has been shown to help skin maintain its elasticity by supporting the health of its collagen. This is important for acne sufferers as breakouts can often lead to scarring, and this is more likely to occur when skin is unhealthy. It can also help improve the general quality of one's skin, giving it a firmer, more youthful appearance; that way, even if breakouts do occur, they may not have as significant an impact on a person's overall appearance as they would otherwise.

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Discussion Comments


I'm not a doctor but I think that everyone with acne should take a low dose of selenium on a regular basis. I just saw a study which showed that acne sufferers tend to have lower than normal levels of the mineral. Of course, the ideal way to go about this would be to get a blood test to check selenium levels.

Adults only need 55mcg of selenium per day. Brazil nuts, fish, seafood, meat and eggs are sources of selenium. So those who eat these foods every single day might be okay. But I don't eat most of these foods and I have chronic acne, so a selenium supplement is a must for me. I also think that people with acne should get a little bit extra selenium because of the inflammation their skin is constantly battling. Selenium is necessary for a healthy skin.


@ddljohn-- I just started taking a selenium supplement. I take 200mcg per day because that's what the bottle label recommended and I already eat foods that are selenium sources. You should adjust the dose depending on the type of diet you follow.

It's too soon to know if selenium is working for me but I have not experienced any side effects.

In addition to selenium, I'm also taking beta carotene and Omega 3 supplements. These supplements also strengthen the immune system and fight inflammation and infection. I'm hoping that this regimen will clear up my acne.


How much selenium should I take per day as an acne treatment? Are there any side effects of the supplement?

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      A boy with acne.
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